Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jehovah-Rapha


Jehovah-Rapha

 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” - 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

It was a Saturday in May, and ironically enough, the Relay for Live was going on within 300 yards of her house.  She was lying in her bed, but awake.  Her best friend had just left after coming to read her Sunday School lesson to her. 
When I came into the room she waved me over to the side of her bed and asked me to read to her.  I knew it would be her Bible she wanted read.  We often had long talks about God, and I owe a lot of what I know to her instruction.

I asked what she wanted me to read and she said “read the verses from my Sunday School lesson”.  And there it was marked in her Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:16-17:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,”

I choked up reading it then, and I’ve never been able to read it without crying since. 
She explained to me that this was her – these verses I’d read to her.  Cancer had taken so much from her.  She was already losing the ability to do many things for herself at this point.  She couldn’t hold her head up.  She couldn’t feed herself. She couldn’t stand, sit upright for any length of time, and to her greatest distress, the chemo had taken her hair.  But there she laid, still teaching me, as she explained that her body was decaying here, like a seed put into the ground.  But in Heaven she would bloom in a brand new body. And that put a smile on her face that I’ll never forget.  Death was no defeat for her, it was the beginning of an eternal vacation, and she had packed well!

He is Jehovah-Rapha.  Rapha is Hebrew and means "to restore", "to heal" or "to make healthful".  The Lord is our Healer, and through her three struggles with cancer, my Grandmother, Mrs. Pearl Stallons Faughn, taught me a lot about how He heals.

Her first battle with cancer was breast cancer.  She was, as best I can remember, in her early 70’s when she first had breast cancer.  She always dressed to the nines, with plenty of jewelry, matching shoes, hair dyed black as a raven, and red lipstick.  When she found out she had breast cancer, she proudly said to the doctor, “Cut them both off! I’ve got no need for them!”  A quiet old lady she was not! She had all the boldness of a teenager!  When the x-ray technician was preparing her for the x-rays, she quietly asked “Now, Mrs. Pearl, is there any way you could be pregnant?”, and my grandmother looked at her with all seriousness and said, “Why, yes. The Holy Spirit did it once and I suppose He could do it again!”  She loved to joke around with people and see them smile.

But the whole time she was praying for her own healing, and knowing through an intimate relationship with God that this time it was surgery and radiation that would be His tools.  He had granted her more time, and she knew through faith that she would survive.  And surely enough, God granted her healing and she won that battle.

It was a few years later that she had a knot come on her thigh.  She knew what it was, and every night would place her hand on it and pray, crying out to God for healing.  And this time, within a few short months, He took it from her.  As quickly as it had come, it went.  And yes, she gave God all the glory!  This time God choose to give her the miracle of healing through faith. 
But this third time she had already gotten word from God that it was her ticket home before she saw a doctor.  She had for years before had her dress to be buried in, complete with necklace, earrings, and broach, hung on the back of her bedroom door.  She showed it to me several times and would ask if I thought it looked nice.  Of course it did! It was mauve pink, a lacy blouse under a nice jacket with a matching skirt.  The necklace was mauve crystals and mauve pearls.  I looked at it often, but never pictured her in it.

She endured chemo for those of us not willing to give her up so easily.  But she didn’t fear death, and she didn’t question it. She welcomed it!  This time God would heal completely and eternally. 
She lived for nearly a year after I read those verses from her Sunday School lesson to her.  During those final months, seeing her suffer so, she asked me to pray that He would take her quickly, and I did.  May 26, 2000 was her coronation day, and I’d bet she had that raven black hair again, and if Heaven allowed it, red lip stick!

God does heal our wounds and bind up our brokenness.  But He does it in His way, and not ours.  Some of us have already been blessed to have that faith healing like she did, and give God the complete glory for it.  Some of us have had healing at the hands of medical tools and prescriptions, which are also His tools given to those that He has instructed to use them.  But each and every one of us will have to have that final healing one day.  Isaiah 55:8 says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.”  He decides the way our healing comes.
But if you go a few more verses down in Isaiah 55 to verse 12, there’s a passage especially for the kind of woman my Momma Pearl was, and I believe expresses how she left this world:

“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

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